Welcome to a new week, dear readers! It's Monday, and that means we've got five days of life ahead of us before we get yet another two days of rest and relaxation. Not to discourage you, I'd rather like to inspire you! Try and use these next five day sin your future to the best of your abilities. Go to work, work hard, punch out and fill your nights with equal parts fitness and fun. Emphasis on the fitness, of course. And really, fitness can—and should!— be fun.
To get you started off on the right foot (figuratively speaking, of course) I thought I'd offer up five good exercises. Perhaps you'll find a place for them in your routine this week.
1) STABILITY BALL ROLLOUT: Work your core muscles, particularly your abdominals with a giant stability ball. Kneel on a mat, place the ball in front of you. Put the palms of your hands together, place them on the top of the stability ball in front of you. (Your arms should be straight, and you should be kneeling upright.) Exhale as you roll forward, pushing your forearms along the ball and your hips toward the mat. Pause before overextending your back, then exhale as you roll back to your starting position. If you can't fully extend your arms to create on straight line with your body, don't worry. Work up to it. Just remember to contract your core muscles the whole way through the activity.
2) STABILITY BALL SQUEEZE, CURL AND LIFT: This is a small move that really targets your glutes. Lie down on your stomach, hands on the ground underneath your forehead. Squeeze the ball in between your ankles behind you, then bend your legs to 90 degrees. Keeping your legs bent toward the ceiling, contract your glutes and press your heels up toward the ceiling. Remember, this is a small move. I promise you'll feel it.
3) WALKING LUNGES IN REVERSE: I know it sounds goofy, but if you've been doing waling lunges on a regular basis, doing them in reverse could really challenge you in a new and exciting way. Particularly in your core muscle group, as the reverse action will feel somewhat unnatural and will therefore require some additional support in the balance department.
4) REACHING STRAIGHT-ARM PLANKS: A regular straight-arm plank is good, but there are ways to make it even better. Sometimes, all you have to do is move your hands into a new position. Like, say...a step forward to make it feel as if you were reaching. If you try this method, remember that you still have to keep your body in one straight line. Meaning, you can't let your hips sag.
5) TRICEPS EXTENSION ON A BENCH: You've all done standing triceps extensions, right? The exercise that requires you to hinge forward from the hips at a 45-degree angle? I love this exercise, but when the weights get heavy, it's really easy to cheat by simply straightening up a bit. You can eliminate the temptation to cheat by lying down on a bench.
Oh, and—a trip to Whole Foods (maybe even Trader Joe's) is on order. I'll be staying in the suburbs, and of course the suburbs of Chicago are blessed with these two great destinations. (Unlike my small beach town.)
Question: What types of fitness activities do you have planned for your week ahead?